Cross River Health Commissioner, Inyang Asibong, has said that the increasing mortality rate of pregnant women was due to the encouragement from Pastors who persuade them to patronize of Faith Based Organizations (FBOs). Asibong stated this while delivering a keynote lecture at the 2017 Annual General Meeting and Scientific Conference of the Cross River State chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association where she said that the state is putting measures in place to return residents to medical facilities.

She said:

“We have religious leaders telling these people what and what not to do, and they prefer listening to them than their parents or health workers. “Most times they prefer to labor for long and are taken to the hospital when they are on their last breath. Eventually when they die in the hospital, we are not allowed to prosecute because the leaders in question are pastors and they get away with it.” 

“We are trying to break that culture by employing health advocacy centers and are also talking to the pastors who are ignorant, to let their patients be in the hospitals where they can always come and pray for them,” said Dr. Asibong.

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She listed some cases she had been involved in and pointed out that the challenge of FBOs was common in Sub-Saharan Africa especially those fanatical about religion. Also, she pointed out that early detection of diseases and intervention was key to excellent clinical performance.

She said that: “Early intervention and prevention is better than cure as we live in a resource constrained setting. If we wait till the disease has progressed, we would have a problem treating that person. “Take for instance cancer, we don’t have enough equipments in treating it but if cervical cancer is dictated early, it can be completely cured.

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